I concluded the previous editorial by mentioning the presidential attire protocol. An attire which, albeit novel and interesting in the said circumstances, marked a weak point. However, after all, a pair of shoes not matching the colour of the rest of the attire and a closed button on a jacket cannot destabilise the political, social and economic balance of a country, nor can they infringe upon its domestic and external affairs.
But how are things when dysfunctionalities, distortions and grave errors or blunders appear in the high-level state protocol area? Like the one of internal ministerial and inter-institutional functioning? A level that hierarchically and mandatorily exists in any country in the world and does not entail any optional degree or equivocal note in the pursuit and precise implementation of this protocol level’s rules.
What is this about in brief: Aviation Day was celebrated on Thursday, July 20. An event from which the very Commander of the Armed Forces and President of the Supreme Defence Council, Klaus Iohannis, was absent.
The mysterious reason behind the President’s absence at this official event that normally entails the automatic participation of the representatives of the Presidential Administration, Government and Parliament was rapidly clarified by the officials of the Ministry of Defence, the institution under whose aegis the event took place.
The invitations for the Presidency no longer reached their destination!
Amazingly, but as true as it can be, right? In a high-tech era in which information instantaneously reaches the most distant spot on the planet, in Romania, in 2017, the country’s Defence Ministry forgets about or is unable to generate in real time an interinstitutional state protocol that is otherwise triggered through an automatic mechanism that is well-geared and long-tested in any circumstance.
As I was saying, we are talking about 2017 A.D., today’s Romania. Not about 2017 B.C. when, to send an important message to a high-ranking official one probably needed messengers, travelling pigeons or possibly telepathy or magic crystals.
Because, not at all by chance, however extremely gravely and unfunnily or impossible to list under the eternal heading of witticism or “political settling of accounts” so often seen lately between the current ruling power and President Klaus Iohannis, the Ministry of Defence represents that institution “that controls activity in the national defence field, in line with the provisions of the law and of the national security strategy, in order to guarantee the sovereignty, independence and unity of the state, the integrity of the country and of constitutional democracy. The Ministry of Defence answers before Parliament, Government and Supreme Defence Council for the way it implements – in its field of activity – the provisions of the Constitution, of other legislative acts in force, the decisions of the Government and of the Supreme Defence Council, as well as the international treaties Romania is a signatory to.”
In this case, in substance, things are becoming even more alarming as we can no longer talk about a purely decorative presence of the Head of State at an official event or about an entirely harmless blunder with strictly personal undertones, generated by who knows what political character whose resentments and intentions toward the President have to do solely with the electoral battle and media spectacle area.
Because, no matter how we look at things and actions, as commonplace and easily to overlook as they may seem, this “error” of institutional or political calculus automatically makes us think about extremely real and dangerous moments and events, such as the start of an armed conflict or of other crisis situations at national or international level, situations in which Romania would be involved and which this Ministry would have to manage in real time, coherently, efficiently and professionally.
And this might not happen because of… distortions and difficulties in the functioning of the internal and inter-institutional protocol of the Ministry!
The dysfunctionality proven by the entire ministerial apparatus of Defence, headed by its chief, Minister Tutuianu (photo), becomes even more obvious and significant as the largest military exercise in Romania’s modern history – Saber Guardian 2017 – started precisely the day before, on July 19, bringing together, until July 22, 22 states, 2,000 pieces of military equipment and 25 thousand servicemen. An exercise that registered another incident on its very first day. During a manoeuvre which entailed the simulation of a rescue operation, water started to infiltrate an amphibious armoured personnel carrier, only a few metres from the riverbank. Soldiers managed to evacuate the vehicle that eventually sank and remained at the bottom of the Danube for several days.
I repeat: this is 2017, in an era in which high-technology no longer represents an exception but a rule. Especially in each state’s militarised domain. Moreover, the most important too! We are a modern state that has extremely important and valuable strategic partnerships, alliances and treaties, including at a military level, both with the United States of America and the EU.
President Iohannis, leaving aside many other controversies or domestic PR shadows, managed, in recent years but especially this year, to successfully reiterate Romania’s position as part of these agreements, lifting to extremely positive levels our external partners’ confidence in a Romania whose image in the world is not just that of a “corruption swamp,” nor that of an eternal domestic political war against Romania’s democracy and progress.
Nevertheless, it seems the current ruling power, irrespective of whether it was called the Grindeanu Cabinet or is now called the Tudose Cabinet, manages – it is not known how (because one can easily suspect “why”) – almost always to be out of sync with the steps taken by Klaus Iohannis, with the intentions and direction he has adopted on behalf of Romania.
Almost a month ago, PSD triggered a domestic political crisis by publicly executing its own Government. Back then, the motivation of the leader of the left wing was that Premier Grindeanu had become public enemy number one, an anti-Premier and a destabilising element for Romania and for the plans that the Social Democrats have for the country’s real and rapid progress.
And the key element of Sorin Grindeanu’s de facto undoing was that of the poor inter-ministerial communication he generated and sustained during the less than 6 months of governing he had at his disposal to implement the already over-discussed, amended and hyper-analysed governing platform.
Now, incumbent Prime Minister Mihai Tudose has initiated, in all appearance, a new tactic regarding the way he sees fit to lead the governmental team and to continue, at the same rhythm and in the same line, the intentions and views of left wing’s leader Liviu Dragnea.
Mihai Tudose cannot be blamed so far for lacking “a spine” in his rapports with any of the members of the Cabinet, nor in his extremely veiled rapport – kept far from the prying eyes of the mass-media or of others – with Liviu Dragnea.
As Prime Minister, Mihai Tudose shows excessive (we could even say ostentatious) transparency and an extremely trenchant and direct attitude in any of the Government’s meetings.
Mihai Tudose leads with an iron fist, brief and to the point, the army of ministers subordinated to him. He even admonishes them and publicly holds them to account, like an authoritarian but fair and correct chief, managing to astonish the entire Romanian public opinion.
And this new glasnost policy has already started to bear fruit. No, not in the economic, social, medical or educational reality of Romanians, and certainly not good fruits. But many of those who, up until yesterday, had declared themselves the staunch enemies of the PSD, and implicitly of Liviu Dragnea, have started to see the good in the evil so far, through the eyes and governmental wand of Mihai Tudose.
A wand that, in a magical way, manages to give the illusion that Mihai Tudose, the Social Democrat, the man selected by the same Liviu Dragnea to lead Romania’s current Government, the character on whose account rivers of irony and sarcasm – concerning certain personal flaws and habits of his that did not recommend him in any way to hold the Prime Minister’s office – were flowing just a few weeks ago, has become – overnight, as usually happens in Romania – a reliable man. A governmental professional and an iron fist that has less to do with politics and with the party he comes from and he represents in office and ever more to do with a kind of left-wing technocrat who manages to put into action the controversial governing platform through his mere presence at Government meetings and through brief and unequivocal orders.
I could say this tactic of changed form, which has been used for Mihai Tudose, is admirable.
Still, going beyond appearances, substance remains the one that after all proves whether things have really started to gain nuances that are so pink and lines that are so firm and certain in the real act of governing whose master of ceremony Mihai Tudose currently is.
Reality and its testimonies, like the ones we have talked about in this editorial, prove they haven’t.
Let’s hope that, another six months from now, during another Social Democratic assessment of the incumbent Government, Liviu Dragnea will not once again reach the implacable and inextricable conclusion that Mihai Tudose, in his turn too, has suffered a dangerous mutation that makes him an enemy of the Social Democratic views on national progress and prosperity, and as a consequence…
And as a conclusion for the political actions and occurrences from the category I have discussed so far, we can say that the eternal and imperturbable Klaus Iohannis remains the winner of the day and of the moment, and, most likely, even the winner of the large stake two years from now – the presidential race.
Hence, “step by step” turns out to be a wiser and safer formula than “dare to believe”…